Saturday, April 10, 2004

words beyond the Word

from late last December:

How extraordinary that whatever the weather, God constantly gives us evidence of God-with-us! Evidence such as the sacraments, especially the eucharist, and the sacramental presence of others of various traditions who formally comprise the Body of Christ, and also those "least, lost, little and last" [Robert Farrar Capon’s words] that God indwells and particularly favors. Evidence of Jesus Christ's redemptive Lordship and absolute authority as we cycle through the changes and transformations in the seasons and in natural creation: in the liturgical year, too, of course! Yes, even here in southern California where we imagine we claim only two seasons, but we actually have many kinds of weather lots of the time.

More than once I've been called a Calvinist, and in recent years I've found myself moving toward far more austerity in worship than I'd've imagined even possible; I've found words beyond the Word becoming more and more significant and even central to my life, to the point it sometimes feels cluttered and verbose far more than communicative, but on that always-there "other hand," my theology has become more and more sacramental, both in terms of the pair of liturgical actions we call sacraments but particularly in my perceiving, describing and defining virtually every - if not every - facet of creation, creativity and human activity as abounding with sacramental potential. We've been talking about evangelism as God's gracious work; we've also discussed various musical, artistic and other expressive modalities besides and aside from that so-familiar spoken verbal proclamation. There's something intrinsically and implicitly im-mediate about wordless communication, whether a human look, a touch, music sung or played, the glow of natural (read: "non-incandescent!") light or a shimmer of shifting colors. It's an experience of earthiness, and earthy and earthbound is exactly what God's incarnation in Jesus of Nazareth is, and isn't that the offense to all of those religious types out there? And the this-worldliness of the Incarnation often offends those religious types inside here, in the church, does it not?

No comments: